At last, our female of Guiding Eyes for the Blind has joined our Purpose Dogs family. Some time ago our followers were allowed to suggest a name with the letter ‘H’, whereupon we collected the 5 most submitted names. Her forever-family was given the honor of making the final choice: HOLLY!
Good luck Holly, you’re a top girl. Thanks Joris and Ellen for giving her a loving home.

We like to share Holly’s story:

In October we were happily expecting the arrival of a female from the USA! She was donated to us by Paul Keymer and Guiding Eyes for the Blind. We can only be very grateful for that!   

Meanwhile we are a few weeks further and we can vividly imagine that you are looking forward to a report of her adventures in Belgium!  

After having traveled halfway around the world, puppy Frito – together with her brother Frasier and companion Clover – arrived on 22/10/2022 in Schiphol Airport/Amsterdam. Dr. Bob Proesmans of Purpose Dogs vzw picked her up and brought Frito to her interim host family in Wellen. There she not only met Laura Munsters but also got to hear her new name for the first time. With that comes a funny anecdote. On social media, all sympathizers were asked to submit a name with an ‘H’ from which a top 5 was then selected. Her forever home – where Holly is moving to on 02/01/2023 – was given the honor of making the final choice: HOLLY!   

Laura is also the host family of Tinka, mother of Purpose Dogs vzw and, at that time, 6 weeks pregnant. The introduction went in a very calm way and the click between the two dogs was there from the first moment. Holly felt at home very quickly. Even more, she found it only normal that she lay down in Tinka’s basket and crate: together and against each other is so much more fun! Tinka didn’t mind and enjoyed the company. 

Before Tinka left for her maternity family to give birth, she and Holly had 2 more weeks to play with each other – both indoors and outdoors – to the fullest.   

In the garden the bushes were eagerly explored, and Holly soon discovered that branches are very interesting to nibble on, play with and run around with. She clearly loves wood!  

Going on a walk was a little more difficult. The horse in the meadow seemed very big in Holly’s eyes and caused her some fear, so she blocked and stopped.  

Laura, an ideal guide with a lot of dog knowledge, worked with Holly on habituation, bonding, socialization and education. From a safe distance and at her own pace, Holly gradually learned to get acquainted with the horse. Result? After a few weeks, she sniffed her new, big friend and was able to go on a walk in peace.  

Living with the cats of the house also required some patience. Balou was curious, wanted to play … this worked out fine. Marie on the other hand was frightened by the lively, playful puppy and ran away: the motivation for Holly to run after her enthusiastically – which was not at all to Marie’s liking. Step by step, getting used to each other was built up, starting with creating distance between Holly and Marie. For example: Holly was distracted with a ball game. In this, Holly did catch a glimpse of the cat but since her focus was on the ball, she did not run after Marie. Now they tolerate each other and run, past each other, through the house.  

At the very beginning Laura – in Holly’s experience – was sometimes gone a little too long and she didn’t like that very much. Then the plastic chairs had to suffer. Is that strange? Of course not! Holly is an extremely social animal and wants to be with her family. So Laura’s two weeks of holiday came in very handy!  

There was plenty of opportunity to spend a lot of time together, to go for walks and to get to know other dogs with whom to play in a healthy intense way – without going ‘over the top’. In short, to do fun things together and go exploring. This, of course, included family visits. They were invited to Laura’s parents and sister’s house and Holly was able to meet the adorable 7-month-old niece.  

Of course, a first meeting with her forever home was not to be missed either. For this family, it will soon be their first experience of being together and living with a dog. However, this family with two young children clearly has its heart in the right place and will be very well guided by Purpose Dogs vzw.  

This first meeting with her future family was very positive. Holly was clearly very excited to get to know them. In the garden she sniffed a lot and ran back and forth in a very excited way. The six year old son wanted to play with Holly but she chose for interaction with an occasional pause: then she distanced herself and stoically did her own thing. The four-year-old daughter found the romping puppy a bit too exciting. Getting a wet nose in the face was a totally new experience and she did not like it at first. Holly reacted very well to that: that she didn’t get a hug at that moment was totally okay with her and she continued to get to know mom and dad. This mutual respect, where they gave each other the necessary space, made Holly feel completely at ease and safe. Once inside the house, Holly was eager to nestle with the children in the couch….  

In the next weeks we made a final walk together before moving to her new family: Laura, Holly, her new family and Paulien of Purpose Dogs. 

Dropping by a groomer for a short puppy habituation was also on the to-do list. Getting used to combing, brushing, cutting nails … no problem! At the intense sound of the dryer, Holly was a little hesitant but Laura guided her with lots of sweet, reassuring words. That too went well! The groomer gave many compliments! She thought Holly was a very nice puppy with excellent behavior. To be proud of!  

Holly got in those first weeks quite some new impressions and stimuli to process. Laura made sure that Holly never got overexcited or forced into something she was not ready for.  

This provided mental calm and Holly felt at ease. This was confirmed during her first behavioral test when she was about four months old. This showed that she was now developing a good, secure attachment with Laura.   

While we are aware that training should be relationship-building and secondary to the well-being of the puppy, it is also a useful extra. Holly knew ‘Sit’ and ‘Down. perfectly: this was already taught to her by our American friends. It is pleasing to see that Holly experiences a training moment as real quality time: she is eager to learn, likes to do something for a treat, she quickly understands the meaning and remembers it well. In this, Holly is clearly in her comfort zone and is a model student!  

It’s amazing… On the one hand, Holly is full of energy, while on the other hand she inherently carries an admirable calmness and self-confidence. What a stable, promising pup!   

In addition, she is a real cuddler! Her way of greeting, she – again and again – adorably puts her nose between your legs and turns around you. Sometimes she stands with her paws on your feet… Well-meant, but since she has grown into a big, healthy young lady of 23 kg with big, strong legs (that promises!), it is rather ‘heavy’!  

To summarize: Holly has a great character and is a top girl!  

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